Saturday, 23 August 2014

A drift along Rue de Vaugirard, the longest street in Paris

Running for 4,3km from Boulevard Saint Michel down to the edge of Paris at the Porte de Versailles, the Rue de Vaugirard is the city’s longest street. What could I discover by drifting the full length of this historical artery?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Elisabethville: a Belgian queen, an abandoned beach resort and experimental architecture

A couple of vintage postcards picked up at a fair took me to a sleepy suburban town on the Seine that hides plenty of surprises.
 

Picking up the postcards, it was the name that attracted me first. Elisabethville. There had to be a story behind such a name, but the photos on the cards provided few clues. Clearly the town was a recent one, with the postcards highlighting municipal architecture, apparently from the 1960s. Why did the postcard manufacturers choose to promote a town hall annex and an indoor market? Was there anything else in this town?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Last Comrade on Rue La Fayette

The French Communist Party (PCF) - as we have previously seen - made its mark on 20th century Paris. However, although its two major HQ buildings became iconic addresses, few people know where it all began. A significant clue though remains written next door!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Politics of Place Names

Walk almost any street in Paris and you will be connected to a historical person or event. It is the French way to give streets and public places the names of important people and significant moments in the country’s past, but this policy is almost never neutral. A good example is the Place Kossuth, where a once important building is situated. This is the story of that building and an attack by nomenclature.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sunshine and Rain

As the Metro on the line 2 moves outside and up onto its aerial section between Colonel Fabien and Jaurès you may catch a glimpse of a rather peculiar message. Despite having trains thundering past their windows for nearly 20 hours a day, the residents of one apartment are more concerned about the sun...which seems to be threatened in this location.

Meanwhile, in a unique and incredible museum a few streets from here, it is the rain that is causing headaches. The microclimate over the 10th arrondissement is a little menacing at the moment...
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